Early Stocks in Motion
Jo-Ann Stores (JAS) after the bell Monday reported a loss of $4.1 million, or 18 cents a share, for the third quarter ended Oct. 29, reversing a year-earlier profit of $6.9 million, or 30 cents a share. The arts and crafts retailer said revenue for the quarter rose 5.8% to $474.2 million from $448.3 million last year, while same-store sales increased 0.7%. The loss was worse than analysts' forecast of a penny a share, although sales topped Wall Street's projection of $470.2 million.
Jo-Ann Stores said results were hurt by overall industry weakness and declining customer traffic, which led to markdowns that pulled down margins. "While our results stem in part from general industry softness, particularly in softlines and home-related categories, it is clear that decisions we made have compounded the problem," said Alan Rosskamm, chairman and chief executive, in a statement. For the fourth quarter, the company anticipates same-store sales ranging from a decline of 3% to an increase of 1%, amid a "challenging retail environment." The company said it is unlikely that it will show earnings improvement until at least the second half of next year. Shares fell 15 cents, or 1%, to $14.80 in after-hours trading.
Agilent Technologies (A) posted net earnings of $26 million, or 5 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, down from earnings of $74 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding charges mainly related to repatriation and restructuring, the company would have earned $193 million, or 38 cents a share, for the quarter ended Oct. 31. Revenue grew 5% to $1.41 billion from $1.34 billion last year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 37 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $1.85 billion.
Separately, the maker of test and measurement equipment said its board has authorized a share buyback of up to $2.7 billion in the form of a modified Dutch auction tender offer. The company plans to repurchase up to 73 million shares at a price of no less than $32 and no greater than $37. The tender will begin on Nov. 15 and end on Dec. 13. Shares of Agilent rose $1.78, or 5.4%, to $34.68 in after-hours trading.
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